WESTERN DISTRICT CONFERENCE
March 31, 2015
A weekly communication for:
WDC Churches and Pastors
WDC Executive Board, Commission, Committee and Task Force members
Any content may be used in bulletins and newsletters and forwarded to congregational leaders and members.
WDC Sprouts is also available at: www.mennowdc.org (Publications)
IN THIS ISSUE:
*Clarence’s Clarion Call
Clarence’s Clarion Call – Prayers for Personal Transformation
by Clarence Rempel, WDC Conference Minister
If we are going to lead the church in spiritual communal discernment, we as leaders need to be encountering God in transformative ways. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2).
This discovery of God’s will begins with leaders experiencing the transforming work of the Spirit. And for that we need to shut off the noise in our lives and get to a place of quiet in the presence of God. For the past two years I have carried two prayers of indifference in my Bible available for those times when I need to lay aside my ego and the need to be right, and more clearly hear the whisper that comes from God. Ruth Haley Barton, our instructor at Constituency Leaders Council last week, recommended three types of prayers for moving into that space of being able to hear the voice of God. I commend these prayers to you.
Prayer of Quiet Trust
Lord, I come to you, trusting that I don’t need to fight, flee, or freeze. You have answers that I need. The answers are beyond my ability to comprehend so I place my trust in you to guide me to a place of clarity and resolve (or Psalm 131:1-2).*
Prayer of Indifference
Lord, I acknowledge that I come to this table with my own agenda, my own desires, my ego and personal likes and dislikes. In this moment, I lay down my will to seek nothing more, nothing less, nothing else than your will to be revealed among your people. Help me to do this very hard thing. Let me know in the moment when I am pushing my own agenda. May I die to self so that you might rise and be seen through me.*
Prayer for Wisdom
All wise and intelligent God, I seek your wisdom. Even when your wisdom seems foolish to me, I will prefer it over my own. Give me insight beyond my experience and training. Give me wisdom that gets to the heart and soul of the work before me.*
Can you sense the spacious quiet?
Ruth Haley Barton’s books in the Western District Conference Resource Library include:
- Invitation to Solitude and Silence: Experiencing God’s Transforming Presence
- Pursuing God’s Will Together: A Discernment Practice for Leadership Groups
- Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation
- Strengthening the Soul of your Leadership: Seeking God in the Crucible of Ministry*These prayers are adapted from prayers prepared by Donna Mast for Constituency Leaders Council, March 26-28, 2015. For group settings these prayers are best prayed in the plural.
Apr 5 – Pray for the gathering of Reference Council on Saturday, April 11, as members of Western District Conference consider the Rainbow Mennonite Church resolution on how our pastors and churches minister to LGBTQ persons.
Apr 12 – Pray for the Church Planting Commission retreat, April 13-14, as they continue to develop clear pathways forward in new church development for Western District Conference. Pray for Howard Garver as the new Director of Church Planting.
Apr 19 – Pray for wise discernment for the Search Committee and Chair Sondra Bandy Koontz as they seek a new Executive Conference Minister for Western District Conference. Pray for candidates and their discernment as well.
Apr 26 – Pray for Conference Minister Clarence Rempel as he makes a farewell tour of Oklahoma and western Kansas churches, April 24-27.
April 11 – WDC Reference Council, Hope Mennonite Church, Wichita, KS
June 12-13 – Anabaptist Faith Formation Growing in Christ Launch, Bethel College, North Newton, KS
June 30-July5 – Mennonite Church USA Convention, Kansas City, MO
October 30-31 – WDC Annual Assembly, Bethel College, North Newton, KS
The April issue of Parish Paper, entitled “Finding God’s New Call in the Same Place” can now be viewed at: https://mennowdc.org/conference-life/parish-paper/.
1. This is the last week to register for the WDC Reference Council, scheduled for April 11, from 9 am – 2 pm at Hope Mennonite Church in Wichita. Please register by this Friday, April 3 online at: mennowdc.org/annual-assembly or call 316-283-6300.
2. Three different leadership seminars are available through our Kansas Leadership Center Transformation Grant – You.Lead.Now., Lead for Change and Teaching Leadership. “What is the church challenge or personal challenge you sense God calling you to work on? Go to https://mennowdc.org/grants/ or talk to Clarence Rempel to find out more. We will begin to offer the unused portion of our 34 scholarships to South Central Conference by June 1. Sign up now even if you plan to take a seminar later in the year.
3. Listen to Ervin Stutzman’s presentation for Kansas City 2015 delegates, held March 27 at First Mennonite Church in Newton at: https://mennowdc.org/annual-assembly/
4. Needing a Break? The Retirees Relaxation Retreat, April 27-29, at Camp Mennoscah offers you a few days of “spring break” and great company. There will be session on Ukraine of yesterday and today, coffee breaks until your head spins, and free time to enjoy however you please. Contact Camp Mennoscah at 620-297-3290 for a registration form or more information.
5. Campers need you! Camp Mennoscah is looking for kitchen helpers and nurses for our summer youth camps. You get the dazzling fun of being with folks of all ages, the satisfaction and joy of making a camper’s summer amazing, and a free camp tee shirt. Kitchen helpers can receive a camper discount up to full camp fees. Nurses receive either a stipend or a camper discount. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 620-297-3290 to grab your spot! Go to our Facebook page to see which weeks have openings.
6. Men and Boys Retreat at Camp Mennoscah is April 10-12. Pastor Phil Schmidt will be our speaker for the weekend. You can come on Friday already, although Saturday supper will be the first meal provided. Lodging for the weekend is available on a first-come, first-served basis and includes cabins, staff houses, or bring a tent. RV, or sleep under the stars. If you have any questions, contact Kevin Neufeld at 316-284-0450 or email@example.com.
7. Want to Volunteer? There are a limited number of volunteers needed to help with the new bath houses at Camp Mennoscah. If you are interested in helping, please contact Camp Mennoscah at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 620-297-3290. Please let us know of any particular skills that you have.
8. Thank you to the volunteers from First Mennonite of Newton and Whitestone Mennonite, as well as the numerous folks who helped with putting in the dam, burning the tall grass, hosting, and assorted other tasks at Camp Mennoscah. You guys are the bestest!
Mennonite Church Announcements
- How does your faith integrate with your work in the healthcare field? Mennonite Healthcare Fellowship (MHF) invites all healthcare workers, past, present, and future, and from medical, mental health, and chaplaincy professions, to come, along with their families, to its Annual Gathering 2015, July 19-21, in Harrisburg, PA. Come to learn, fellowship, worship, network, and be encouraged in your Christian faith! Annual Gathering is a family-friendly event with a children’s program for ages 0-18. Grants are available for students, volunteers, and those outside the U.S. and Canada. For more information and registration, go to www.mennohealth/gathering, email email@example.com, or call toll-free to 1-888-406-3643.2. Select titles of Believers Church Bible Commentary series are now on sale for only $10.00 USD at www.MennoMedia.org webstore – but only until March 31st! Know someone who would like to have more in depth study of Scripture? These make a great gift and Father’s Day and Graduations are coming soon!3. Prayer Retreat: The Convention Prayer Team and AMBS-Kansas Center will host a Prayer Retreat prior to the MCUSA Convention in July. This retreat is intended for pastors, congregational leaders, delegates, members and anyone who is interested in coming together to join in prayer in preparation for Convention. This retreat will be held on Sunday, May 3 at the Dyck Arboretum of the Plains in Hesston, KS. The retreat begins at 4:30pm and will conclude with a faspa supper at 6:00, so participants are invited to bring faspa finger foods (bread, meat, cheese, pickles, fruit, etc.) to share. This event is free and open to the public. For more information, please see https://www.ambs.edu/news-events/Prayer-Gathering.cfm To RSVP as a congregation or as an individual, please contact Katherine Goerzen at firstname.lastname@example.org by April 27.
4. Adult Bible School: Sermon on the Mount: June is the month for Bible School, and so any adult (congregation member, pastor, anyone interested in the Bible) who is looking for an opportunity for spiritual growth, renewed discipleship, and a chance to dive deeper into the Bible is invited to participate in an Adult Bible School on the Sermon on the Mount. This continuing education opportunity is hosted by AMBS-Kansas Center and will be taught by Jerry Truex. It will meet June 1, 8, 15, and 22 from 7:00-9:30pm at the Hesston Mennonite Church in Hesston, KS. Normally continuing education opportunities like this cost $200. However, this event has been sponsored by South Central Conference and Western District Conference. Due to their generosity, the cost per person is only $50 (please plan to register by May 11 for this reduced rate). Registration is available at https://www.ambs.edu/academics/Sermon-on-the-Mount-course.cfm For more information, please contact Katherine Goerzen at email@example.com.
Western District Conference
2517 North Main, PO Box 306
North Newton KS 67117
316-283-6300; FAX: 316-283-0620